We were lucky to have several hard-working photographers on course for the 2022 OK Grand Challenge (GR 1). LAURENT VIGUIE snapped the field in the home straight – and then the main players as they progressed towards the wire.

If you missed this exciting 1800m event the race was won in the closest of finishes by Seven Seas, from True Beauty, and then came Holy Land and Lily Blue. Winning margins 0.05 lengths 0.75 lengths 2.00 lengths. Time 107.07 sec. The winner is owned by Christopher Peech, trained by Gokhan Terzi and Nathan Klink was riding.




Seven Seas, with Nathan Klink up, won the US$70 000 OK Grand Challenge (GR1) at Borrowdale Park today – in a thrilling finish with Castle Tankard winner, True Beauty (Schwarz).  Holy Land (Danielson) was third.

Trained by Gokhan Terzi and owned by Christopher Peech, the five-year-old mare was bred by Digleby Stud (Mr and Mrs H. Stegeman).  Seven Seas is by Elusive Fort out of an Argonaut mare and she has now won five races.

Congratulations to the winning connections.

Four-year-old True Beauty was giving the winner 5kgs and was gallant in defeat.

The photograph of Seven Seas was taken by Zimbabwe Equine News on another occasion.  Up-to-date pics will follow later.

That finish…



DIST ….. 1800m
4 June 2022

No. Horse Name Jockey BTA Mass +/- Draw Fin/Pos Dist O/Bett S/Price
14 SEVEN SEAS N KLINK AM 52.5 1 1 – 50/3 20/1
7 TRUE BEAUTY D SCHWARZ A 57.5 8 2 0.05 5/1 11/2
6 HOLY LAND R DANIELSON ACM 58.0 3 3 0.80 25/4 9/1
2 LILY BLUE J PENNY A 59.5 13 4 2.80 100/7 16/1
10 WANTAGE T GOULD A 55.5 4 5 3.05 50/3 25/1
3 CAPTAIN OF TORTUGA F HERHOLDT BA 59.0 10 6 3.15 50/3 14/1
9 MR GREENLIGHT B NYAWO A 57.0 9 7 4.40 50/3 20/1
5 ONLY HIM K STEYN A 58.5 16 8 4.50 25/3 10/1
16 CITRUSDAL M NYAMAGWETE BA 52.0 15 9 4.75 50/3 25/1
13 EDWARD THE SEVENTH D De GOUVEIA A 54.5 12 10 5.00 25/1 33/1
4 FINCHATTON M JOSI A 59.0 6 11 5.05 50/3 20/1
17 MIND MASTER W SHUMBA A 52.0 2 12 5.10 50/3 25/1
1 WHAT A DANDY N TAKAWIRA A 62.0 5 13 5.60 25/3 5/1
12 BUGATTI BLUE WES MARWING A 55.0 19 14 8.10 20/1 33/1
11 ARMSTRONG N K SIBANDA A 55.0 20 15 13.10 20/1 40/1
15 LOVE THE VIEW A ARRIES A 52.0 18 16 21.10 20/1 33/1
8 DAFFIQ J GREYLING A 57.0 11 17 27.10 25/2 20/1
18 OBSCURE L TARENTAAL S 52.0 1 17 18 28.60 50/3 14/1
19 VARNICA RESERVE 1 A 52.0 7 scr scr scr scr

WON BY 0.05 lens 0.75 lens 2.00 lens TIME 107.07 sec



Full sisters, Lily Blue and Obscure, will race against each other, for the first time, in the 1800m OK Grand Challenge (Gr1) at Borrowdale Park on Saturday afternoon.

Five-year-old Lily Blue and four-year-old Obscure are sired by Black Minnaloushe (USA) and are out of Mammy Blue (ZIM), a Kitalpha (USA) mare. Both were bred by Geoff Armitage and on Saturday they will race in the Gin’ll Fix It Syndicate’s silks (pink, pink sleeves. turquoise armbands and cap). In this photograph Obscure wears the late Betty Prosser’s colours – Betty had a share in Obscure prior to her passing.

The illustrious Lily Blue needs no introduction. She has won 12 races (including Classics) with only occasional blips and carries 59.5 kgs in the OK Grand Challenge. On the other hand, Obscure has won five races, including her last start, and perhaps may only now be coming to hand. To date, 2000m and further has seemed her game but she will carry 52 kgs on Saturday and could surprise.

It will be interesting to see how the sisters, both trained by Bridget Stidolph, fare. Lily Blue is accustomed to racing in top company – Obscure not so much.

Henk Leyenaar will be holding thumbs for both these runners, having originally owned Mammy Blue.

Photographs by Zimbabwe Equine News.


This exercise began because I was puzzled by the 2022 OK Grand Challenge opening betting when Daffiq who has not raced for a year was at 7/2, and Finchatton , who won the OK Grand Challenge last year, was on 10/1.

Daffiq (Randall Simons) won the 1600m Independence Trophy on 2 May 2021, carrying 57 kgs and beating Finchatton with Diego de Gouveia up (54 kgs) by 0.10 lengths. They are due to meet again on Saturday, June 4, over 1800m – a distance Daffiq has not tried previously although the breeding is there (Silvano (GER) – Crown Office (USA) by Horse Chestnut). At this stage, I stopped worrying about Daffiq as he remains a mystery.

So, what about Finchatton who did, after all, win the 2021 OK Grand Challenge carrying 55.5kgs and beating Peggson, Holy Land (52kgs), and Fareeq. In February he won the 1600m Ipi Tombe Stakes (L) and was followed across the line by Holy Land, What A Dandy and Captain Of Tortuga – all carrying 60 kgs. Holy Land was a quarter of a length off Finchatton, What A Dandy 1.50 lengths, and Captain of Tortuga two lengths behind.

Finchatton’s last start was in the 2022 Castle Tankard (Gr1) over 2000m, which was won by True Beauty on May 7, and, in addition to Finchattton and True Beauty, nine other OK hopefuls also ran in the 2022 Tankard.

Below I have listed the relevant 2022 Tankard runners in the order in which they finished, plus the weight carried in the Tankard, lengths behind – and the weight they will carry in the OK Grand Challenge (Gr1) in brackets.

Your basic arithmetic is sure to be better than mine, but I think Finchatton has to be in with a good chance – as do some others.

TRUE BEAUTY 55.5 kgs (57.5 kgs) +2kgs

ONLY HIM 57.5 – 0.75 lens (58.5 kgs) +1kg

HOLY LAND 58.5 – 2.25 (58 kgs) – 0.5 kg

WANTAGE 56.0 – 3.00 (55.5 kgs) – 0.5 kg

CITRUSDAL 52.0 – 3.25 (52 kgs)

FINCHATTON 60.0 – 4.25 (59 kgs) – 1 kg

BUGATTI BLUE 55.5 – 4.75 (55 kgs) -0.5 kg

LILY BLUE 60.0 – 5.50 (59.5 kgs) -0.5 kg

ARMSTRONG 55.0 – 9.50 (55 kgs)

LOVE THE VIEW 52.0 – 10.25 (52 kgs)

MR GREENLIGHT 57.5 – 25.25 (57 kgs) -0.5 kg

OTHER OK GRAND CHALLENGE ACCEPTORS: What A Dandy 62 kgs; Captain Of Tortuga 59 kgs; Daffiq 57 kgs; Edward the Seventh 54.5 kgs, Seven Seas 52.5 kgs; Mind Master 52kgs; Obscure 52 kgs; Varnica 52 kgs Reserve 1; Tulip Way 52 kg Reserve 2.


The first three past the post in the 2000m Castle Tankard (Gr1) run on 7 May 2022 were the most fancied runners when the final field was declared for the 1800m OK Grand Challenge (Gr1) earlier this week.

True Beauty won the Tankard, and then came Only Him and Holy Land. Winning margins 0.75 and 1.50 Lengths. When betting opened for the OK Grand Challenge, True Beauty and Holy Land were quoted at 5/2, and Only Him was 4/1.

Holy Land may prefer the 1800m trip and there has been a significant turnaround in the weights.  In The Castle Tankard, True Beauty received 3 kgs from Holy Land, while Only Him was receiving 1 kg from the older horse.  On June 4 Holy Land only gives True Beauty half a kilogram, while Only Him will give Holy Land 0.5 kgs.

There is no doubt that the four-year-olds will have to dig deeper to beat Holy Land, but it isn’t all over bar the shouting. The OK field is bristling with possibilities and the Final Field has been published on this site.

Photographs by Jenny Stock.


The Final Field for the OK Grand Challenge to be run over 1800m at Borrowdale Park on June 4, was announced at a function given by the sponsors this afternoon (May 24 2022).

During the course of his welcoming address the Deputy Chairman of the Mashonaland Turf Club, Mr Scott Buchan, said:

“Over the years the OK Grand Challenge has not only become a much-loved permanent fixture of the Zimbabwean racing calendar, a permanent fixture in our national sporting and fashion calendar but now undeniably a major race within the international racing fraternity. This international focus not only presents Borrowdale Park as a world-class racing centre but it also adds to the attractiveness of Harare as an international destination and city, and of course gives fantastic exposure to the OK group as a leading international brand and company.

“This will be the second time that the OK Grand Challenge has been run with a virtual and online offering. There has been a large and encouraging uptake from all of you that allows both- a VIP, a fashion, and a marketing experience from the comfort of your own home.

“From Mushandike to Mushumbi Pools – both you and I can enjoy the racing, the fashion, the shopping, the excitement and the opportunity to win. We have for the first time ever a 4 host broadcasting audience this year, carried by our nation’s flagship ZBC, DSTV throughout Zimbabwe and South Africa, and now recently Gold Circle Television out of KZN in Durban (who host the Durban July) and OK’s very own live stream alongside Clocking The Gallop.

“The partnership that has developed over the years between horse racing and OK has transcended into more than just a horse race. It is more than just a national sporting event and If I may acknowledge OK’s obvious transformation over the last 2 years, their investment into our sport – that this year is the largest yet – with $70 000 into the main race and $90 000 into the races held on the day. This as well as their brand expansion internally, and the vision that CEO Mr Maxen Karombo and his team have so energetically started 12 months ago has culminated in a business that is vibrant, exciting and committed to improving the lives of all Zimbabweans.

“The MTC, and this event, has become a part of that, a platform for everyone out there, both you and I,where after 2 years of lockdowns, hardships and an undeniable rising cost of living, the OK Grand Challenge promotion that has run over the last 4 months, brings fun, laughter happiness and savings – that leaves no one behind.

“On behalf of Mashonaland Turf Club, I personally thank the OK Group for your continued investment in our sport. This day will bring so much to so many. For our trainers, owners and grooms, who will win this race on the day, a lifetime of memories will be etched within them forever. I also thank the OK group, for allowing these memories and opportunity to win, to all those throughout our nation, that will only serve to encourage our youth, to give inspiration to each and every one of them, and to provide even the smallest of platforms, to allow them to develop into our future leaders and businessmen.

“Max, your continued support is invaluable – thank you.

“I also have some good news that we would like to share with the OK Group today. I know that Mr Albert Katsande’ was very passionate about horseracing and the OK Grand Challenge was always treated as his own personal project – both in-store and on course. I also know how involved you have been, Max, both in the industry and with horses.

“And In light of OK’s continued stake commitment – as well as the decade’s long partnership with MTC, I am pleased to announce today, that the OK Grand Challenge – within the rules of the APC and Southern African horse racing – has officially been elevated to a GRADE 1 Listed race.


Race-8 (Turf) $ 70,000 1800m 14:50 Ref-132
1st $35,000, 2nd $14,000, 3rd $10,500, 4th $7,000, 5th $3,500
Open/6th leg Open Series
WFA: 2yrs-11.5kgs 3yrs-2.0kgs

No Apprentice Allowance
1 5 WHAT A DANDY 62.0 105 A N Takawira Debra Swanson
2 13 LILY BLUE 59.5 99 A J Penny Bridget Stidolph
3 10 CAPTAIN OF TORTUGA 59.0 98 BA F Herholdt Bridget Stidolph
4 6 FINCHATTON 59.0 98 A T Gumede Gokhan Terzi
5 16 ONLY HIM 58.5 97 A K Steyn Bridget Stidolph
6 3 HOLY LAND 58.0 96 BA R Danielson Vanessa Birketoft
7 8 TRUE BEAUTY 57.5 95 A D Schwarz Thomas Mason
8 11 DAFFIQ 57.0 94 A J Greyling Vanessa Birketoft
9 9 MR GREENLIGHT 57.0 94 A B Nyawo Vanessa Birke
10 4 WANTAGE 55.5 91 A T Gould Bridget Stidolph
11 20 ARMSTRONG 55.0 90 A N K Sibanda Vanessa Birketoft
12 19 BUGATTI BLUE 55.0 90 A Wes Marwing Debra Swanson
13 12 EDWARD THE SEVENTH 54.5 89 A D De Gouveia Gokhan Terzi
14 1 SEVEN SEAS 52.5 85 AM N Klink Gokhan Terzi
15 18 LOVE THE VIEW 52.0 82 A A Arries Thomas Mason
16 15 CITRUSDAL 52.0 81 BA M Nyamagwete Bridget Stidolph
17 2 MIND MASTER 52.0 80 A W Shumba Vanessa Birketoft
18 17 OBSCURE 52.0 80 A L Tarentaal Bridget Stidolph
19 7 VARNICA 52.0 79 T A Reserve 1 Debra Swanson
20 14 TULIP WAY 52.0 77 A Reserve 2 Debra Swanson



Stake money for the OK GRAND CHALLENGE (GR2) to be run over 1800m at Borrowdale Park on Saturday 4th June 2022, has been increased to US$70 000.

Nominations for what is now Zimbabwe’s richest race closed at 10 30 this morning and supplementary nominations are due by 10 am tomorrow, Thursday, May 19.

 Final Acceptances for the OK Grand Challenge are at 9 am on Monday, and the Final Field will be announced at a function on Tuesday, 24th May.

Minor races on OK Grand Challenge Day have also received a welcome boost in stakes, and Final Acceptance for these events is at 10 30 on Monday, May 30, 2022.

The scene is set for another great OK Grand Challenge race day.

Photograph: Laurent Viguie